Greek mythology is one of those ancient things that we often study in high school and then forget by the time we're in college. Not so for Ian Anderson, the author of the Modern Disciples Series, novels which center around a group of characters stuck in a modern world riddled with the effects of Greek mythology. Because in these books, the legends are real. For this week's featured writer in the 2013 Fall Author Program, Ian talks to us about taking the old Greek stories and turning them...modern.
Hello and welcome! Who are you, and why are you a writer?
Hello, thank you for having me. My name is Ian Anderson and I am the author of Modern Disciples. I am a writer because I believe in the power of stories. They teach, they entertain, they are the life blood of our progression as a society. Plus it is fun for me and I can not see myself doing anything else in life.
You take Greek mythology and make it modern. How much research did you have to do to write this series?
I have been studying mythology from a young age. Most of my knowledge is based on Greek and Norse mythology. When I did further research I discovered the Japanese, Aztec, Egyptian and other mythologies. I do get most of my story ideas directly from the myths themselves so I do find I need to brush up on them. Most of my research though is done to compensate for little details that I don't know about. A good example of this would be the research for Volume 2. The characters spend time in Vegas. They had to do some gambling which I knew nothing about. I learned the basics of craps for that story. I just hope serious gamblers won't find that part of the story accurate enough.
Sum up the plot of the first book for us today.
A man named Ryan Hunter leads a life with no direction and no plan on how to achieve his goals. He has an encounter with the furies from Greek Mythology and finds out that one of his parents is a Greek god or Goddess. Eventually he learns who that is and teams up with a group of people who are also children of gods, but from different Pantheons. They go on a mission to kill an indestructible beast in the Florida everglades. Their journey does not end though when they find the beast. They start to learn that sinister forces are always moving against them.
I know that there are Titans in the first installment of your series. What's the difference between a Titan and a god, strictly methodologically speaking? ;)
Wow, there's a question you could write a whole thesis on, or at least a blog post. I guess in keeping with the myths: the Titans were the first beings that created the universe and gave birth to the gods. The Titans are essentially nature and the universe as a whole. The gods are not only their descendants, but they symbolize the will to control nature. In short Titans = Chaos, Gods = Order. As far as my story goes, the Titans are the bad guys because if they win they destroy the world. If the gods win they let us go back to our lives (hopefully).
How do you create? Music? Quietness? Pure inspiration?
I am a firm believer of staying at home in a quiet place to get your writing done. I have never been one of those guys who hangs out at Starbucks with a laptop. As far as inspiration goes, that is where it starts. Most of what comes out of my fingers though I have to research. I always have a dictionary/thesaurus and Google by my side.
Who are the writers that inspire you?
I have read all the Percy Jackson books, save "House of Hades," so I guess it is fair to say Rick Riordan has inspired me. We are both into mythology and we both do our homework. Stephen King was a great inspiration to me when I first started writing. I still see much of his influence in my writing today. As an independent writer though, I would have to say that I get much inspiration from Amanda Hocking. She has accomplished more than any other indie author out there and I hope I can replicate some of what she has.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes. Learn how the language works, and then learn how to market. I have a degree in Creative Writing/Journalism. If I could do it over again, I would drop the journalism and at least minor in marketing. These days even authors published through traditional means need and online presence. Unless you are the Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowlings of the world, you need to take direct action biting and scratching your way into the market place.
Ian was born in New York but now lives and works in Florida. He has traveled to many different places throughout the US and has even been to Scotland once. Ian started studying Mythology at a young age when given a picture book of Greek myths. Since then he has become a student of Norse, Japanese, Egyptian, Irish, and many other types of Mythology. He has combined these different mythologies into his series entitled "Modern Disciples." He has published three books now and is currently working on the fourth.